by Sarah Smith
Sunday Devotional Playlist:
This week’s playlist starts with some songs to sing along with, but then will move into some instrumental music as a backdrop to your devotional time.
Feel free to use the opening songs as moments to worship, or just have them as background music while you read. It’s up to you!
Hit play on the video above and it will run through the songs in the playlist.
Last week we looked at our dependance on God to enable us to fulfil the things he is calling us to. None of us are “enough” in and of ourselves but God is asking for our availability not our ability and so when we simply say yes and give him what we have and who we are becomes it is enough.
We summed it up like this:
“You are not enough – except that you really are.”
This morning I want to reverse that statement and consider the opposite:
“You are enough – except that you really aren’t”
Let me explain……
Authenticity: You Are Enough
Over the last decade there has been a noticeable cultural shift in the west towards us having a seemingly new awareness of and appetite for authenticity. We seem to be getting better at owning and celebrating our strengths as well as acknowledging and accepting our weakness. Much of this shift can be summed up in our new found love for this phrase:
“You are enough”
Just do a google search for this phrase and you will find page after page of memes – it really has become the dogma of our day!
Now in many ways this shift is really helpful and healthy but I do think we need to consider carefully what this all means for us as followers of Jesus.
What do we hear and understand about us being “enough”?
If we hear it and receive it as meaning we are fully accepted and unconditionally loved just as we are then it’s true, eternally and unchangingly so.
However, if we hear it as meaning “you are fine as you are, you don’t need to change and no one should be requiring that of you”, then we are dangerously off the mark.
We have to understand and embrace authenticity in the context of the kingdom and not through the lens of our secular post modern culture where the “self’ is king and I am my own final authority on what is good.
I want to suggest that authenticity isn’t about me being just accepted, comforted and validated with where I am at. “I am an Enneagram 4 – accept me and deal with it!”
For us, being authentic means being real about our humanity, the good and the bad but not about having an excuse to settle. I am worthy of love despite my imperfections and so are you but that isn’t the same as there being no requirement on us to change. I can and I must embrace the challenge and the change of following Jesus but I do so from a place of love and belonging.
So as disciples of Jesus yes, let’s be authentic. Let’s embrace vulnerability and know that it really is ok to not be ok. But please let’s also hold fast to our call to walk with Jesus, be refined and transformed to become more like him and willingly deny ourselves, take up our cross and live for him.
We need to embrace this cultural value for and acceptance of weakness and vulnerability but in the context of the unchanging invitation and requirement to follow Jesus. The start of this journey is a place of acceptance and unconditional love, and every step of the way is accompanied by acceptance and unconditional love – but it is a journey and we do need to walk it.
None of us has arrived yet and we need to press on:
12-14 Yet, my brothers, I do not consider myself to have “arrived”, spiritually, nor do I consider myself already perfect. But I keep going on, grasping ever more firmly that purpose for which Christ grasped me. My brothers, I do not consider myself to have fully grasped it even now. But I do concentrate on this: I leave the past behind and with hands outstretched to whatever lies ahead I go straight for the goal—my reward the honour of being called by God in Christ.Philippians 3:12-14 (PHILLIPS)
I’m really aware of the difficulty of trying to communicate these ideas over the last 2 weeks and doing it in writing is much harder! I want to make sure we hear the truth of the call of Jesus and don’t end up in a ditch of self reliance and compromise “I am enough” on the one hand but equally not in a ditch of impoverished thinking, inadequacy and hopelessness on the other!
The way forward is to keep looking to Jesus, listening to him and following where he leads. Simple in theory – profoundly challenging in practice!
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV)
Let’s be careful we don’t allow cultural distortions of the gospel, which sound very worthy and well meaning, come and divert us from the daily call to follow Jesus. We follow him In dependance, obedience and submission, knowing we are not enough. But we follow him in absolute security surrounded by his love and acceptance knowing we really are enough too!
- What does “you are enough” mean to you?
- How easy do you find it to be authentic: celebrating your strength and acknowledging your weakness?
- In what was do you need to press on again?
- Think about Jesus as author and perfecter of your faith: what is he writing on and through your life at the moment?
- Are you weary and loosing heart? How can you find strength and encouragement to go again? Who can you reach out to and ask them to pray?